Pierce lays a nice counter right on Koscheck’s cheek and rushes in for a single-leg behind it. Koscheck defends, hopping over to the fence, where they trade punches inside. Koscheck reverses the position and they step away from the cage, Pierce landing a solid one-two as they disengage. He pumps the jab again and ducks a tie-up attempt from Koscheck to deliver another. Pierce is oozing blood from his hairline, a red stain quickly coating the right side of his face. Pierce pushes his man into the fence, where Koscheck connects with a knee up the middle. Ref Dean steps in to pause the action and warn Koscheck to mind his fingers on probing punches. They resume and Koscheck, bleeding from the nose, soon after shoots a double, bringing Pierce down at the base of the fence with relative ease. Pierce is trying to post and twist loose as Koscheck looks to take his back. Pierce stands and scrambles loose, and the round ends without much further action.
Koscheck scores with punches early, but it’s followed quickly by a Pierce single-leg. This one goes for Pierce’s first takedown of the bout, but Koscheck is quickly to his feet and pushing his fellow wrestler against the cage. They walk around the perimeter as ref Dean urges them repeatedly to work. Koscheck backs up and puts a left on Pierce, then another. Pierce gets a collar tie and slugs with a few uppercuts, a knee to the gut. Pierce moves around the outside, working his jab and following with a left hook. Another takedown attempt from Koscheck is stuffed, Pierce throwing a wide base against the cage. Dean again urges the fighters to get busy and splits them with 90 seconds to go. Pierce lands a jab but simultaneously catches a finger in his already swollen left eye. Koscheck is issued another warning by Dean, but no point is deducted. Pierce recovers quickly and goes back to jabbing on the outside; he’s now mindful of the open left hand of Koscheck. Pierce half-shoots a double, senses a headlock from Koscheck and goes back out. Koscheck blitzes with 30 seconds to go and hits a double-leg on the fence. He wraps up the legs of Pierce but doesn’t throw any strikes from the top. Pierce works back to his feet and finishes the fight with a spinning elbow in close quarters.
Official score: One judge scores the bout 29-28 Pierce, while another has it 29-28 for Koscheck. The final judge sees it 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Josh Koscheck.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Roy Nelson
Werdum leads off with a low kick, then backs Nelson off with a front kick. Nelson comes inside and just slips a knee from Werdum, but eats the leg kick behind it. Nelson stumbles and Werdum is on his back in the blink of an eye. They hit the floor and Werdum is hunting for the rear-naked choke, but Nelson somehow twists loose and escapes to his feet. Werdum keeps Nelson on the fence and scores with some big knees to the body, then a couple up top. Nelson is getting mauled in the clinch and turns the Brazilian around into the fence, where Nelson slugs with some no-look lefts. Another pair of knees to the face of Nelson have Werdum back in control in the clinch, but “Big Country” regains his composure and turns him around again. Nelson’s midsection is bruised up already as he tries to control the bigger man on the outside. Ref Josh Rosenthal splits them up with 1:40 left in the round and he wants the cageside physician to take a look at Nelson’s bloodied nose. The doc clears him to continue and Nelson is immediately greeted by Werdum’s knee when they restart. Werdum backs Nelson off with wide punches, but Big Country catches a kick and socks Werdum with a big right, felling the BJJ specialist. Nelson gives chase to the ground and Werdum throws up an armbar, but Nelson keeps in tight and defends. They’re back on the feet with 20 seconds left and Werdum closes out the frame with a kick to the body and another hard knee.
Werdum slams a hard kick to the outside of Nelson’s thigh and then drops him with another knee. Nelson’s right back up, grinning and walking Werdum down. Nelson connects with a couple flailing rights, but when he gets in the pocket, Werdum tags him with more vicious knees and kicks. Nelson’s face is a mess, blood flecked all over his chest as he chases Werdum around the cage. Werdum’s right hand is finding its mark on Nelson’s face and guts both. Nelson connects with a right that appears to hurt Werdum, but Werdum is still throwing back as Nelson gives chase around the outside. Nelson tries to tie up just before the horn and grazes with a right hand. Werdum is looking tired as he leans up against the fence immediately after the round expires.
Nelson and his bloodstained belly inch toward Werdum, who changes levels after 30 seconds and rushes for a takedown. Nelson puts his back on the fence and snares Werdum in a guillotine, but the choke doesn’t look very tight and Werdum soon breaks the grip. They go back to throwing and Werdum connects with a two-piece and another knee before Nelson wraps him up again. Once they break, Werdum loads up on another pair of rights, another knee and a stiff jab. Werdum piles up the jabs and then turns Nelson around with a snapping front kick to the mush. Two minutes to go and this is looking like a lost cause for Nelson, who keeps coming forward but can’t lay any substantial strikes on his bigger foe. Werdum scores with an uppercut and a grazing high knee, then steps out of the way of a syrupy low kick from Nelson. A straight right to the body of Nelson connects, but Big Country is still moving forward at the end.
Official result: It’s a clean sweep with three 30-27 scorecards for Fabricio Werdum, the winner by unanimous decision.
Vacant UFC Interim Welterweight Championship
Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz
The welterweights... (Continues on next page)